OTTO Engineering is a supplier of control products and communication accessories. Based in the picturesque suburb of Carpentersville in Kane County, Illinois, midway between Chicago and Rockford, OTTO designs, manufactures and supplies a variety of bespoke products to meet the exacting standards of its customers. Background The company was founded in 1961 by Jack Roeser. His inspiring story is a perfect example of the American dream. Setting up his original brand, Otto Controls, out of his basement (Otto was his father’s name), he started out with one client, making electrical switches for a local company called Cook Electric. Half a century on, the company is by far the biggest employer in Carpentersville, employing a workforce of more than 500 people and turning over more than $100m per year. The company moved to its current location in 1968. Jack continued to play an active role in the business right up to his death in 2014 at the age of 90. Today, the family-run business is in the safe hands of his son, Tom. Switches and controls While OTTO Engineering has diversified significantly over the years, it remains true to its roots. It provides switchgear and controls to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, marine, medical, heavy equipment and communication. It is a far cry from those pioneering days of providing switches to a local electrical firm! The cutting-edge devices that OTTO supplies include joysticks, Hall Effect and electromechanical switches, grips and lots more. The most recent addition to the product portfolio is a keypad switch module designed for use in the harshest environments, including construction, engineering and agricultural, to name but a few. Communication equipment OTTO Communications is a separate arm of the company that designs, manufactures and supplies communication equipment, concentrating in the two-way radio market. As a specialist manufacturer, it is positioned at the premium end of the market and provides mission-critical equipment of the highest quality to some of the most important organisations in the US. The product portfolio is wide, and includes intercom systems, headsets, surveillance equipment and speaker microphones. The company also provides a full range of intrinsically safe communication gear for use in hazardous environments. Quality management As you might expect from a company that prides itself on providing superior technological equipment to a discerning client base, its list of accreditation certificates would be enough to cover the walls of the average family home. The entire organisation works within an ISO-9001 compliant Quality Management System, on top of which, the onsite laboratory is externally accredited to ISO-17025. Other accreditations include AS9100 (Aerospace), ATEX/IECEx and FAA/PMA, among many others. A cutting-edge company with traditional values A little over five years ago, the village of Carpentersville threw a number of huge celebrations to commemorate OTTO Engineering’s 50th birthday. At the time, Jack Roeser was 87 and still heavily involved in the business. Local resident Ed Ritter lives across the street from OTTO and is President of the Old Town Association. He described the company as: “The best thing that has happened in Carpentersville.”